5 Ways Anxiety Affects Your Ability to Work

Our job can stress us out. This is hardly breaking news. However, when you’re dealing with an anxiety disorder, things can rise to an entirely new level. The usual work-related issues are still there, of course. Only now, you’re also dealing with another layer of stresses, worries, doubts, and concerns. Anxiety is no fun anywhere. On the job, it can be particularly uncomfortable.

How Anxiety Affects Us, in General

More than simply feeling nervous or stressed, an anxiety disorder can disrupt and alter your life, self-esteem, and perception of others. Its many symptoms can cause you to change plans, make endless adjustments, or struggle with basic daily functioning. Everything you experience may feel heightened. Social expectations are daunting. Self-questioning becomes the norm.

Anxiety disorders are very common — especially for women — and, as a result, there are many self-care and treatment options available to you. It truly helps to understand this condition and its symptoms. A great starting place is to examine how anxiety affects your ability to work.

5 Ways Anxiety Affects Your Ability to Work

1. Avoiding the Spotlight

It could involve giving a presentation or working in teams or doing basically anything while bosses and co-workers are watching. All of it adds up to a feeling of dread and a desire to avoid.

2. Never Having “Time Off”

Let’s say your work hours officially end at 5 o’clock. However, thanks to anxiety, you dwell on your day for a long while after. You may also spend an inordinate amount of time preparing for the next day.

3. Social Interactions (or lack thereof)

It’s typically expected that employees engage in conversations, social events, etc. It could be considered as important as job performance. For someone with anxiety, this feels like walking through a minefield.

4. Anger Management

Anxiety can manifest outwardly as anger. Needless to say, this creates more attention at work and can trigger issue #1 above.

5. Mental Fatigue

Anxiety is exhausting. In such a state, our memory, focus, and coordination are diminished. This can add up to poor work performance and therefore…more anxiety.

5 Ways To Manage Your Anxiety at Work

1. Understand, Accept, and Normalize It

Do your homework. Understanding what’s happening and why can help you normalize your situation. This, in turn, can reduce anxiety based on self-consciousness.

2. Reduce Screen/Device Time

Don’t check personal email and social media all day long. Our devices are anxiety creators. Give them a break so you can stay present in your job.

3. Remember: You Are Not the Only One Feeling Anxiety

Look around you. One in four adults will have an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. So, statistically speaking, many of your colleagues are also struggling.

4. Self-Care Rituals

It really helps to get enough sleep and choose healthy eating habits. On the job, be sure to monitor your posture and take plenty of stretch breaks.

5. Personalize Your Workplace Communication Style

Some people with anxiety experience a pang of panic with every text and email that arrives. Others really wish they could do less face-to-face conversations. Identify what works best for you.

When You Need More Than Self-Help

It feels like a catch-22 when you need help with anxiety but it is your anxiety that stops you from asking. A common and very effective option is therapy. Anxiety has a way of making you believe all eyes are upon you. Conversely, your weekly counseling sessions can become a safe space. You’ll have someplace to talk along with someone to talk with.

Therapy is an excellent way to hash out work-related problems and work towards solutions. It also gives you the opportunity to practice new approaches while ditching old patterns. If this sounds comforting, reach out today for more information!

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